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A Dangerous Pet Food Marketing Trick? – Truth about Pet Food

The story on Today.com starts off reading like just a news story about a celebrity chef. But…then it becomes clear it is a marketing piece to promote Science Diet dog food.

The story shares that chef Alton Brown has put his dog on a diet, and “has now partnered with Hill’s Pet Nutrition“. The celebrity chef stated: “Investing in the right food is the same as investing in your dog’s health.”

Does Alton Brown realize that Hill’s Science Diet is a feed grade pet product? Does he understand the FDA allows ANY feed grade pet food to utilize condemned meats, and be manufactured under inferior conditions. It doesn’t seem he understands, because he ate some of the kibble and canned dog food.

“I don’t feed my dog anything I haven’t tasted. Both the kibble and the canned food — I couldn’t resist. I need to know what it tastes like. I had a big ol’ spoonful.”

So what did Alton Brown eat? It appears from the marketing images in the story that he ate Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight dry and wet dog food. Both of those dog foods are feed grade. They include multiple feed grade meat ingredients (chicken, chicken meal, turkey giblets, chicken liver flavor) that the FDA allows to be sourced from condemned animal carcasses, diseased animals and/or decomposing non-slaughtered animal carcasses with no disclosure on the label.

Is this Science Diet marketing dangerous?

Does having a celebrity chef publicly announce they ate a feed grade pet food encourage others to eat “a big ol’ spoonful” of their pet’s food?

Should Hill’s Science Diet be reprimanded for possibly encouraging a person to eat their dog food?

The following email was sent to FDA today (2/7/22):

FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine should be aware of what appears to be a new and dangerous pet food marketing technique. Per a news story in Today.com, celebrity chef Alton Brown announced his partnership with Hill’s Science Diet. Of concern, the news story (that appears to be more marketing than news) announced that Alton Brown consumed some of his dog’s dry and wet Hill’s Science Diet. Quoting: “I don’t feed my dog anything I haven’t tasted. Both the kibble and the canned food — I couldn’t resist. I need to know what it tastes like. I had a big ol’ spoonful.”

Source: https://www.today.com/pets/pets/alton-brown-went-diet-dog-tried-dog-food-rcna14798

A celebrity chef publicly announcing he ate “a big ol’ spoonful” of a feed grade pet food – that FDA allows to include ingredients sourced from diseased animals and animals that have died other than by slaughter – is a significant concern.

Would this celebrity chef have eaten the dog food if there was a warning message on the label alerting him it could contain illegal waste? Probably not.

Will the announcement of a celebrity eating a (feed grade) dog food encourage others to do the same? We can safely assume it will.

If the FDA is going to continue to exercise enforcement discretion allowing illegal waste to be disposed of into pet foods, consumers (and celebrities) deserve to know exactly what they are purchasing (or eating). Warning labels are required on many consumer products, pet feed should be required to label their products with a warning as well.

Is the FDA so confident in the safety of waste, illegal feed ingredients they will continue to ignore the human health risk of consumers eating pet food?

We also encourage FDA to publicly announce to all feed grade manufacturers to stop any endorsements that include human consumption of a pet feed. Hill’s Science Diet should be issued a Warning Letter to immediately stop it’s marketing campaign with celebrity chef Alton Brown consumption of Hill’s dog food. Further, Hill’s should be required to notify any media outlet that reported on Alton Brown’s consumption of Hill’s dog food to post a follow up story fully explaining what FDA allows into feed grade pet foods that should NOT be consumed by humans (and in our opinion pets).

I would like a response from FDA CVM regarding their intentions towards transparency requirements for pet feed ingredients, label warning requirements for illegal waste ingredient pet foods, and FDA’s intentions to put an end to pet food marketing that encourages humans to consume pet food.

On behalf of pet food consumers –
Susan Thixton


Pet owners are encouraged to email FDA with their concerns to the lack of transparency to quality of ingredients in pet foods and Hill’s concerning marketing campaign. Email the Center for Veterinary Medicine at: [email protected]

Wishing you and your pet the best –

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
TruthaboutPetFood.com
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